Australian duo Robin Fox and Clayton Thomas have created something of an oddity with their debut collaborative release ‘Substation’. Fox is an expert in Max/MSP programming (it’s a piece of music software for those of you living in the real world) wheras Thomas is an expert on the double bass and a luminary of the Aussie improv scene. An interesting pairing then and one which lives up to expectations; the first piece ‘Direct Couriers’ lulls you into a false sense of security with haunting chimes and double bass tones, but as the second track ‘Shuffle’ awakens you quickly realise that ‘Substation’ is not going to be an easy piece of listening. Harsh processed squeaks and squeals burst from Thomas’s double bass and Fox’s laptop to create an all-encompassing headphone listening onslaught. By the time it finishes, you’ll feel quite exhausted, luckily the album’s centrepiece – the almost 30 minute ‘Dust on the Diodes’ is a more slow burning work, gradually building deep drones and clanking sounds into a sea of processed plucks. ‘Substation’ is by no means an album for a quiet night in – it’s an experience, something which requires all your senses to be fully honed to allow yourself room to experience the music. One of Room40’s most peculiar releases, but also one of it’s most rewarding – recommended.